Mis-TRANS-lating “Walk on the Wild Side”

“Walk on the Wild Side,” which introduced transgender Warhol Superstars Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis to mainstream American culture when the song hit the Top 40 in 1972, is “transphobic“?

Yes, according to the Central Student Association at Guelph University in Ontario:

It’s come to our attention that the playlist we had on during bus pass distribution on Thursday contained a song with transphobic lyrics (Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side). The playlist was compiled by one of the Executives with the intent of feeling like a road trip from the 70s and 80s. The song was included solely on those terms and made in ignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics.

We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement. We have committed as an organization to be more mindful in our music selection during any events we hold. We will be meeting to discuss how we can create better playlists in the future. If you have gone through this process before or have any advice on creating more inclusive playlists, we’d love to hear from you (csapresident@uoguelph.ca).

If there are students or members of the campus community who overheard the song in our playlist and were hurt by its inclusion and you’d like to talk with us about it and how we can do better, we welcome that. We also recognize you may not want to talk with us and we acknowledge that it is not your responsibility to educate us. Please know that we are taking the steps to educate ourselves further to ensure this error is avoided going forward.

Lou Reed, who had a several year relationship which led to a (not legally binding at the time) marriage with his “transexual muse” Rachel, was transphobic?

What a drag, man!

Bonus track:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s